I have been organizing tastings regularly for about ten years. The last six years I've been doing this almost exclusively with champagnes from the Champagne Characters program, so I know them pretty well.
There is always a good mix of wine connoisseurs, interested people and absolute newbies among the guests.
On the one hand, it should be noted that the mood that arises spontaneously in the composite group affects the taste (people are happy, relaxed, stressed, annoyed, etc.).
The wine is of course a little different every time, depending on the bottling, maturation, disgorging date etc.
But then there are significant characteristics in some samples that the entire group notices each time (beginners and professionals) and that strongly influence the tasting:
E.g. the acid or wood comes out unpleasantly strong on some days. Stupidly, that was at a rehearsal that I organized on the topic "Champagne in wood". There were many fans of this style, but they didn't like the wines that evening, not even those who buy them regularly!
There is the wine app "When Wine Tastes Best", which is based on the biodynamic calendar, which predicts whether it is a root or leaf day (rather bad) or a flower or fruit day (good days). HERE it is quite well explained.
I think it was even a root day, I also check the app from time to time, but don't act on it, otherwise I wouldn't be able to rehearse at all: the non-ideal days are in the majority! When the app was brand new, I looked in more often, but then it was often the case that it wasn't right, or it all tasted good, including me, even though the day wasn't ideal. So either the app is incorrectly programmed, the calculations are incorrect or there is no correlation. Or the characteristics sometimes come out stronger, sometimes less strongly and / or are mitigated by other positive factors (good mood, etc.).
A tasting was also stupid, I always call it "fat bread", there is only lush champagne, matured forever, higher dosages etc. On this day everything tasted "light" and everyone was disappointed. I also experienced it that way and then felt a little helpless because I knew the wines myself differently but couldn't do anything else.
On another evening I thought to do something good for the guests and served some of the lavish representatives towards the end and that day everything came out so lusciously that almost everyone said, "It doesn't work, much too powerful ..."
Then there are days when the fruit comes out particularly well, those are the days when I sell a lot of bottles after tasting. Once it was so intense that everyone felt really foggy, the taste experience was so enchanting. This sample took place again the next day and the day after that with the same wines (I always do my XXL samples 3 times in a row). The level is actually almost always three times completely different (also from the favorites).
These were all extreme examples now, most of the time the tastings are what I would say "normal", i.e. the guests have different favorites and the experiences coincide with what I have heard in other rehearsals. Thank goodness otherwise I couldn't give any recommendations at all :)
What concerns me now:
With the new distance rules, I find that the champagne tastes different in the vaulted cellar than in the living room above (at the moment it is always divided into 2 groups). I'm not going to go into the famous aircraft situation that everyone knows (HERE for those interested). But I was a little surprised that the difference in my space is so serious.
And then during the very hot days of the last few weeks I had the feeling that the guests' sense of taste was completely carousel. Several guests said, for example, that a Chardonnay made of steel with zero dosage would have tasted "sweet and too rich", while the Pinot made of wood was "super light". In general, the taste experience at high temperatures was rather negative or difficult
In the summer I received a lot more inquiries about a particularly light Chamagner and with one customer it was even so extreme that everything that had matured for more than 2 years and contained dosage was too "strong in character" for him. He must have felt the lush topic strongly. Maybe it is related to the body sensation. In the blog article of the Weinforum someone writes: "... maybe there is a connection with general physiological parameters (glucose level in the blood, sympathetic tone, water balance etc.) and / or the current mental state?"
Somebody else writes: The human sense of smell / taste is not a precise measuring instrument (even if many professional tasters always prescribe it), but rather serves to optimally supply the body with food. So the distinction between nutritious - inedible - harmful. Perception is also related to current needs. It is clear that you have an appetite for sweets (and that tastes better) after prolonged physical exertion. Or an appetite for salty after salt loss through intensive sweating. Perhaps the key to optimal wine enjoyment is that you learn to listen to your body and then choose. "
I think the latter sentence is great, maybe your body tells you what it would like to have. But that doesn't help with tastings that have already been decided.
Rene Gabriel also describes the phenomenon of weather-dependent tasting in a blog article: "It was with Christian Moueix in the Pomerol. When asked about the overly dominant tannins of the barrel patterns, he told me that the same wines were much more open yesterday. Today is one Low pressure situation and this would compress the tannins and make them appear harder. In addition, the wines would also be noticeably stingy with their aromas in this phase. "
I would like to understand all of this better, because I love to give wine recommendations and hit the mark.
But as this text shows, there are not only the personal experiences you have had with wine and the resulting expectations or beliefs (I don't like Chardonnay etc.), but also climate, color, glass, atmosphere, psyche...
Rene Gabriel again: "For me, enjoyment is the most intense form of physical perception. This in turn correlates with a not exaggerated expectation. This is very, very important, otherwise the frustration is pre-programmed. Unfortunately, we live in a world of expectation inflation today."
Sense of smell and taste are not a calibrated analytical-chemical measuring device, but have evolved as a tool for the body, among other things. for the search and evaluation of food.
I could imagine that depending on the current need (hungry or full, hibernation or activity etc.) the sensor system reacts differently or even has to react.
Wine simply remains one of the most fascinating topics, precisely because it is not tangible and because the moments when everything is suddenly perfect may be remembered for a lifetime. And it doesn't have to be 300 € wine, it just depends on many factors.
The most important thing for me is that I drink the wine with people I feel comfortable with.
The discussion will continue in this regard, I also posted a call to Facebook on the day of this blog article, there were also very interesting tips: https://www.facebook.com/nicola.neumann1/posts/10158646711466796
Nicola Neumann wishes you a lot of fun and many champagne moments